Overall, the Redskins lack blue-chip players, evidenced by the more than two decades since the team last landed an NFL All-Pro selection.
One area where Washington does have elite talent, and could break their All-Pro drought, would be on the offensive line.
That conversation starts with left tackle Trent Williams. Unquestionably the most athletic blindside protector in the league, Williams has made seven straight Pro Bowls and combines strength, grace and precise footwork to play one of football’s most important positions at a very high level.
Beyond Williams, right guard Brandon Scherff mauls his opponents and has much more speed and agility than he gets credit. Redskins coach Jay Gruden labeled Scherff the best pulling guard in the NFL, and that case is easy to make.
Without getting to the other three offensive line spots- with center manned dutifully by Chase Roullier and right tackle by Morgan Moses - Williams and Scherff are the headliners.
There are other headlines though, and they aren’t the positive kind.
The Redskins offensive line has sustained an outrageous amount of injuries the last two seasons. No team in the league has been forced to use more guard combinations, and both Williams and Scherff have missed significant time.
Roullier was the only offensive player to take every snap last season, and while Moses gutted through a number of ailments, he was penalized more than any other tackle in the league.
And there’s the left guard situation.
Washington hasn’t truly addressed that spot in years, instead trotting out Shawn Lauvao before his inevitable injury in the first half of the season. Last month, the Redskins finally attempted to get a handle on the spot by drafting Indiana guard Wes Martin in the fourth round and Alabama center/guard Ross Pierschbacher in the fifth.
Inside the building, Redskins officials hope Martin can start at left guard right away. He’s very strong for a rookie and should be a capable run blocker. His pass blocking will be something to watch.
The team also signed Ereck Flowers this offseason. A first-round pick of the Giants in 2015, Flowers was awful in New York and was cut midway through last season. Jacksonville picked him up and he played decent with the Jaguars to finish the year.
There was talk that Flowers could push for the left guard spot, and he might. But he also might serve as depth at tackle, especially considering the Redskins lost Ty Nsekhe to the Bills in free agency.
For parts of three seasons, Nsekhe has been a valuable backup in Washington, filling in for both Williams and Moses and occasionally at the guard spot. With Nsekhe gone, second-year pro Geron Christian will need to show much more than he did as a rookie, but his development will be hampered as he returns from a major knee injury suffered last year. This offseason, the team also agreed to terms with Tony Bergstrom, a depth player with some versatility, who also dealt with his own injury struggles.
The real ceiling of the Redskins offensive line will be determined by what players can stay healthy. That just hasn’t happened in Washington for the last two seasons, and in turn, it has submarined promising seasons.
Fix the injuries, and offensively, the product should be significantly better; run the ball more effectively, use play action more effectively, throw the ball more effectively.
As the reality of rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins starting for the Redskins this fall becomes more apparent, it should also become more obvious how important a healthy offensive line will be to his success. And it’s just too early to know if that will be the case.
When everyone is healthy, the ‘Skins have a top five offensive line in the NFL.
But when will everyone be healthy? The last few years that doesn’t last long.
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